Security team sees evolution of skinny slot-fitting ATM skimmers

Jul 25, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- Yet another ATM card-reading heist technique to worry about: Thieves have evolved their ATM techniques in coming up with skinny skimmers to work inside the ATM that are so small they can be fitted inside the credit card insertion slot. They record the data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the card as it is slid into a compromised ATM. The skimmers when equipped with a secondary component also record ATM customers entering their PINs, such as with a PIN pad overlay or hidden camera. The news was revealed, as police in an unidentified European nation retrieved the wafer-thin skimmers.

The European Security Team (EAST), an organization that collects ATM fraud reports, has been publishing their ATM fraud alerts, They have been issuing country crime updates from representatives of countries in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), and from non-SEPA countries. They say a number of European countries are noticing higher-quality and more efficient skimming devices.

According to EAST, one country which they have not named, alerted them about a new form of skimming device that is thin enough to be inserted directly into the card reader slot. These devices record the data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of the card as it is slid into the compromised ATM. EAST notes that these insert-skimmers are continuing to evolve whereby a secondary component to record customers entering their PINs, such as a PIN pad overlay or hidden camera, is being used.

EAST was alerted to the new skimmer by one of its reporting countries; the U.S. is no stranger to the fact that techniques in ATM card-reading crimes are always evolving. According to the FBI, ATM skimming is a growing criminal activity that some experts believe costs U.S. banks hundreds of millions of dollars annually. ATM card skimming is defined as a method used by criminals to capture data from the on the back of an ATM card. The devices used are small enough to escape notice by most ATM customers. What is unique about the new skimmers is that they are inserted into the slot where other types reported have been fastened in close proximity to a card reader. Pin capturing refers to a method of attaching cameras and other imaging devices to ATMs to catch the victim’s PIN. Interestingly, the FBI says that ATMs are not the only target of skimmers. The agency has also seen them at gas pumps and other point-of-sale locations where customers swipe cards and enter PINs.

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More information: www.european-atm-security.eu/Welcome%20to%20EAST/&action=fullnews&id=110

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User comments : 5

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Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Jul 25, 2012
Now if the ATM dispensed that special legal document filled out by the soon to be deceased one could happily say "..where there is a will there is a way"

Isn't it amazing how the mind works and especially so sometimes when its not specifically directed to any particular problem. I've just realised a way one could skim these cards with no direct infrastructure and from across the road... Good thing I'm an engineer and not a scammer :-)

Bowler_4007
1 / 5 (1) Jul 25, 2012
put a flap in front of the slot then if something is inserted the machine checks for a card if one is not found then the machine goes out of service till someone comes to sort it out,
either that or leave no room for anything but the card
Stitllams
not rated yet Jul 25, 2012
What cards with the chip that have no magnetic strip to steal info off, wouldn't that make it more difficult to skim, or has that technology been cracked too.
alfie_null
not rated yet Jul 26, 2012
Smart cards are more expensive to manufacture. So far, financial institutions find it less expensive to deal with fraud from these gadgets. Assume anything can be cracked, but properly implemented smart cards will be much more difficult to crack.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 26, 2012
What cards with the chip that have no magnetic strip to steal info off,

The chip can be read as well. Notice the different pads around the chip. Those are used for power, in and out (and reprogramming if you want to). Making a reader for these is only marginally more difficult than reading magstrips.
(OK, reading magstrips can be REALLY easy if you feel lazy. All you need is the head from an old cassette deck. Slide it over the card, plug the "audio out" of teh cassete deck into the "microphone in" of your computer, and look at the resulting sound on your favorite sound-editor. Voila: complete readout)

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